Malta 1940-42 Axis Air Battle

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Ryan K. Noppen; Illustrated by Graham Turner
Other Publication Information
Soft Back, 96 pages w maps, black & white images, and illustrations
Product / Stock #
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Product Picture

The Promo on the Osprey website states, “In 1940, the strategically vital island of Malta was Britain's last toehold in the central Mediterranean, wreaking havoc among Axis shipping. Launching an air campaign to knock Malta out of the war, first Italy and then Germany sought to force a surrender or reduce the defenses enough to allow an invasion. Drawing on original documents, multilingual aviation analyst Ryan Noppen explains how technical and tactical problems caused the original Italian air campaign of 1940-41 to fail, and then how the German intervention came close to knocking Malta out of the war. Using stunning full colour artwork, this fascinating book explains why the attempt by the Axis powers to take the British colony of Malta ultimately failed.”

There is a familiar saying that applies to Malta, and that is “Location, location, location”. Malta was located in a very strategic “cross-hair”. As the book indicates, Mussolini ordered the Italian military to neutralize Malta as an Allied base of operations.

The Italians were unsuccessful in their effort to capture Malta and, thusly, the Germans stepped in, quite confident that they would be successful where the Italians had failed. The author uses his extensive knowledge of the conflict to set the stage, detailing the defense of the island, the Italian strengths and weaknesses which led to the entry of the German military in this conflict, and to explain how, when success was within sight, the events that caused the Axis campaign to stall.

The organization of the content, into 1940 and 41-42 is very helpful in drawing out the time line of the conflict. The author lays out the capabilities of the attacking forces, and the campaign objectives in clear and concise language. In the section entitled, “Analysis” the author, sums up the two points that explain why the Regia Aeronautica and Luftwaffe failed in their effort


  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Attackers’ Capabilities 1940
  • Campaign Objectives
  • Defender’s Capabilities 1940
  • The 1940 Campaign
  • Attackers’ Capabilities 1941-42
  • The 1941-42 Campaigns
  • Analysis
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Please note that this publication is available in three formats. The book can be ordered as a paperback “hard copy”, a PDF, or as an “ebook”. The pricing for the paperback is more expensive than are the prices for the PDF or the “ebook”. Also please note that the Item/Stock Number for each of the three versions is unique. The Osprey website is very clear and easily navigated, so just select which version is your preferred version and click in the appropriate spaces.

This book is highly recommended. Factors in this recommendation are the extensive knowledge of the author, the author’s ability to clearly express the issues involved in the conflict, a superior bibliography, a clear and well stated “Analysis”, excellent diagrams, color illustrations, and black & white images that support the “story line”. Thanks to Osprey for providing a copy of this publication for review by IPMS/USA.


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